The Soundtracks of my Youth: PART FIVE

I have no memory of owning this but I definitely dug the flick when it came out in ’87. We went on a famliy holiday to America that year and I remember we visited the glass chapel where they get married at the end. That was exciting. The highlight of this record seems to be awful mid-80’s Rod Stewart. I doubt I ever even listened to this one. Thinking about the music to this film conjures up images of horse-faced midget Martin Short doing ‘comedy’ dances.

I remember this one. It was ace. A couple of harry Belafonte tracks an and epic yet twiddly score by Danny Elfman. I know this was my first Danny Elfman score, I was really impressed by it at the cinema. The weird thing is that I remember considering myself quite the soundtrack expert, I could tell you everything that Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein or John Williams had ever done, yet I seem to have absolutely no ‘classic’ soundtracks here, just a bizarre collection of mainly crap. Not that Beetlejuice was crap. God, do you remember when Tim Burton was just an amazing, innovative visionary director? before he just remade established ‘gothy’ things a bit gothier with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter? He’s so boring now. Aaaaanyway.

I actually remember buying this one. At WHSmiths. I remember thinking it was too expensive. I have no memory of how much it was but I was probably right on that original impulse since I can’t imagine I ever really listened to it. I did think it was a great film, though. As a special effects freak, I was blown away by it. But not by the soundtrack.

Great film, good soundtrack, well done, Little Jon.

Now, you see, this is what I was expecting the whole box to be full of – classic film scores by great composers. A lot of soundtracks I kind of assumed would be in here really don’t seem to be but this is a solid example. What a great score E.T. had. What a great film it is – an easy one to take for granted. How often do you ever watch it? It’s such a good film. It’s really brilliant. What they did to it in the special edition was rubbish, but the original is just fabulous. Worth a re-watch if you haven’t for a while.

Here we go! That’s more like it. Another classic John Williams score. A good record to own. Great stuff!

Aha! That’s the one! Completing the holy trilogy of collaborations between John Williams and Steven Spielberg (uh, quadrilogy, but I don’t have the Jaws one). I think this is my favourite soundtrack of all time. Music being so integral to the story itself and the most important scene being a musical conversation between the humans and the aliens. I’m so glad i found this. And it’s a beautiful gatefold album cover which shows the a big picture of the scientists facing the mothership.

Wow, I forgot all about this soundtrack. And the film. Remember when Robin Williams was funny? It’s so funny looking at the tracklisting of this album because it’s made me realise that this is where I first heard all of these incredible classic songs. Nowhere to Run, I Get Around, Game of Love, I Got You (I Feel Good), Baby Please Don’t Go.. and Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World. How strange that this was what introduced me to them. I remember it briefly sparked off an obsession with sixties music. Introduced me to a lot of good stuff. As did…

What a great, great soundtrack. This one introduced me to Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay, Groovin’ and one of my all-time favourite songs – Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears.

This just restores a little faith in my younger self. The good records in this box I remember really listening to a lot and laid a good foundation for my discovery of real, good music a year or two later. I’ve been thinking a lot as I’ve been writing these soundtrack blogs about why I might have been buying these things. I think it’s a couple of real motivating factors. Firstly, I think I knew music was important but didn’t really have a way ‘in’ to it at that point. I knew I liked being in record shops but real music was just out of my comfort zone at that time. I just adored cinema. I can’t properly express how much I loved it. Those of you who know me now as the jaded and cynical film snob would never have recognised the wide-eyed pup who counted the days until the release of Jaws The Revenge (WHERE’S MY JAWS THE REVENGE SOUNDTRACK??? I DEFINITELY HAD IT!!!) And the eighties weren’t like today where you could see a film trailer online, watch it as many times as you liked, along with endless clips and publicity pieces, then go and see the film at the cinema in the knowledge that you’d be owning the DVD of it in just a few months. Films were ethereal then. There was no internet. You heard rumours about films in magazines, then you’d be in the cinema and -BLAM – a trailer. And I could hardly breathe when an exciting trailer was on because, unless you paid again, you wouldn’t be seeing that trailer ever again. You had to absorb it as it played out in front of you and remember all of the details. Even then, it could be months until the film was actually released – if it made it into the Oxford cinemas at all. We only had 4 screens. When you finally got to see the film itself, there was at least a six month wait until it hit rental and, even then, no guarantee it would come out to buy at all. It really wasn’t until the mid-nineties that the concept of being able to own basically any film came to fruition. That’s why rep cinema was so popular. There was no way to see a lot of these films.

Being a film geek was different then. Films weren’t available for immediate consumption. There was no imdb, so no way to even really track and cross reference and sometimes even prove the existence of these films (in that first trip to America, my dad took me to see the Garbage Pail Kids Movie. Nobody at my school believed it had even existed let alone that I’d seen it. It was almost a year before it slipped out on VHS in this country by which time everybody forgot that I had even claimed to have seen it). So, if you were a film geek then, you were often denied that one central part of the obsession – the films themselves. So you held on to whatever you could. I furiously collected film novelizations (I wonder where those are now!) which I could refer to when my memory stuck on plot points and, since they were often based on early drafts of the screenplay rather than the finished film, they often contained exotic missing scenes and storylines. I think to me at 11 and 12, owning the soundtrack was a memento of a treasured experience. It was the only part of the film I could relive at my whim. So, you know what? I think it’s kind of sweet. Regardless of how I might feel about these films now, from an adult perspective, these were bought out of the passion and excitement of a young film geek and it’s nice to have a connection back to those feelings. And when, this afternoon, I reseal the box and stick it up in the loft, I’ll be pleased to know it’s up there to rediscover another time.

Oh, there’s one record still left. Let’s have a look….


Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Iffy Rod Stewart song aside, Innerspace still stands up as a barmy summer blockbuster filtered through the mad eye of Joe Dante. (He’s got a new film out this summer in 3D – huzzah!)

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